Smart Cities and Communities

Smart Cities and Communities

Internet of Things (IoT) applications and Big Data analytics are increasingly used by (local) governments and businesses to make decisions in and about cities and communities. The development and use of such ‘smart’ urban technologies comes with some great promises and expectations. For example, they can be used to monitor or measure urban pollution, traffic jams, waste, and are said to enable great innovations in tailoring public services and spaces to the needs of individuals.  At the same time, the use of smart urban technologies raises crucial questions about its ethics, economy and politics. What are the consequences of municipalities working closely with commercial technology companies rolling out smart technologies? Are communities actually involved in decision-making on their ‘smart city’? And (how) do smart urban technologies solve or reinforce social inequalities?

Theme Lead

  • Dr. Jiska Engelbert

    Dr. Jiska Engelbert is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus School of History, Culture & Communication. In addition to coordinating both Digital Cities & Communities and the new LDE Minor “Smart and Shared Cities”, Jiska is Academic Director of “Tackling Inequalities”, the first interdisciplinary Honours Programme for all Master students at the Erasmus University.


How to build smart, enjoyable cities and hinterlands

Communities should be at the core of smart city thinking and making. After all, their data, livelihoods and rights are at stake. Smart city makers often talk people's participation and community engagement, but do people's exclusion. It is, thus, crucial to bring communities (back) into the imagination of their urban futures.
Dr. Jiska Engelbert
Theme Lead Smart Cities and Communities

Affiliated projects


  • VCC works together with The Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) in the research project 'Digital Society' to address the many pressing questions raised by the emergence of a digital society. In the program 30 leading professors from fourteen universities work together and support the Netherlands to develop technologies and applications that serve societal goals and interests, and which can be an example to all. 


  • On 18 and 19 September, scientists, civil servants, publicists and designers gathered at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam for Beyond Smart Cities Today, a two-day conference on the premises and implications of smart city developments. The Conference was organised by the Centre for BOLD Cities with support of VCC.